Social media is a powerful force and if harnessed properly, can launch even the smallest businesses and brands to an international level. But this doesn’t happen overnight and this certainly doesn’t happen without a dedicated effort to managing your social media properly. The good news is that social media rewards honest and personable information. The bad news is that after years of paid advertising, we sometimes forget this and fall back into counter-productive habits. The following social media dangers are ones that are tempting and may appear harmless, but if left unchecked can hinder even the best social media intentions.
Advertising not engaging – Social media provides free platforms to reach your target audience. The opportunities sound ideal for your advertising budget…and they are if executed properly. Avoid the temptation to use social media as strictly advertising or else you won’t engage your network, which is one of the most critical components of social media. Instead of status updates that dully request that potential customers check out your website or sign up for your newsletter, ask them to answer an interesting question or to provide honest feedback.
Editing negative feedback – It can be extremely tempting (given the fact you have “editor’s rights”) to remove or alter negative feedback someone from your network may have posted about your business. This is a dangerous game to play. So long as the comment is truthful and not inappropriate, negative feedback is an important aspect of social media – and customer service in general. Avoid the temptation to simply hit delete and make it go away by instead responding directly to it. Address how you’ll solve this problem and ensure it won’t happen again. Even negative feedback can be opportunities for positive PR.
Building a false following – Don’t get me wrong. Facebook ads can be a very effective way to drive business to your fan page or web site and help people connect with you who otherwise may have never heard about your business. But when such tactics are used solely to increase a number, you only really create a false following. This is most evident when a business or person has hundreds if not thousands of followers, but their social media updates are never engaged by their network – no likes, comments or retweets. Instead, build your network steadily and meaningfully. Earn your fans and keep them engaged with interesting content they’re inspired to share with their friends. You can be screaming to a room full of a thousand people, but if no one’s listening does it really make a difference?
Trying to do too much – Just as in life, you can’t be everywhere at once or be everything to everyone. Social media is vast to say the least. Understand the specific types of social media that will best help you to reach your target audience and engage with them most meaningfully. For one business, Twitter might be the only social media they need to take off. For another business, Twitter might be the least effective social media tactic of all. Rather than being average at all social media, pick just a few and be exceptional!